Girald looked around the room slowly, not seeming to truly take anything in, just looking for the sake of looking. He stood erect, his head held high, golden curls dripping about his face, and his back was straight. And if he couldn't see the walls and floor and single window, he certainly couldn't see the homely, nondescript young man sitting at the table behind him, drinking absinthe. The boy was watching him, however, avidly, clouded grey eyes fixed with interest upon his hair, following his every movement.
At last, Girald seemed to feel the eyes, and turned. His face bore an expression of curiosity, fine eyebrows raised, and he moved back to the young man's table, sinking into a chair. His companion smiled, not unlike Feuilly had; sarcastically.
"Everyone greets me that way. It's not a good day at all."
"'Greets' you? They could be spiting you. --How is it not a good day? You've found le cafe Musain. You're a revolutionary, are you not? Isn't it perfect? Isn't it a good place, with this back room, closed in as it is; one can't notice the door immediately. It's as good a place as any to plot and plan and choose the exact strategic way to kill young, foolish men."
Girald stiffened. "I - what is your name?"
"Your last name. In la Republique, we use surnames."
Andre snorted. "Grantaire, then."
Encouraged, Girald began. "I'm a revolutionary, yes. I -"
"Wait - you needed my name before you could properly argue at me, is that right? Good God."
Girald felt himself glaring slightly in exasperation, and tossed his head a little to throw back the curls straying in front of his eyes. "I'm not arguing with you. You're... you're right. I do want to kill them. And this is a good place. It's a perfect place. How - how could you tell, though, what I was thinking?" Now he was curious again, earnest, leaning forward rather.
Andre gave him a suddenly unsure grin. "Just could. You look the like the sort to kill... kill men..." His voice grew softer. "Do you intend to kill everyone who joins in your revolution?"
"May I join?"
Girald cocked his head, considering. Andre was impossible to imagine dead. For some reason, he was completely unable to picture him with any injury; he couldn't even see him with a bayonet slash to the throat. "No."
"Oh, God. --Please?"
He shook his head firmly. "No."
Andre took his hand gently, lovingly, holding it almost reverently. "You must, please. It's all I ask."
He tried to pull away, afraid of the strange, sad-eyed young man pleading to be killed. "No!"
Andre's grip tightened. "Beautiful god, please allow me to make this sacrifice for you."
Girald succeeded in freeing himself this time, and, as soon as his hand was his own again, struck Andre across the cheek, feeling unreasonable fury and fear in his chest. Andre sank back, cradling his face in both rough hands, a look of incredible pleasure on his countenance.
"Ah well... I'll make do with this until I can convince you."
Girald stood. "You're not part of my revolution. Don't expect it, for you'll never be." He turned to leave, shuddering with hate, resting his forehead for a moment on the door. "Don't ask again."
Andre didn't answer, too drunk with the pain. And quite suddenly, Girald could imagine him drowning. He left with tears in his eyes.
Back to Chapter One.